August 8, 1958 ~ September 8, 2009
David Ray French passed away September 8, 2009 at the age of 51, after an extended battle with esophageal cancer. Dave was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas on Friday, August 8, 1958 at St. Bernard's Hospital. He was the second of four children of Bobby R. French and Kathryn D. French. David is survived by his wife Clarisa Feldman, his parents, and five children; Benjamin Ray Isaac French, 24 of San Antonio, Joshua David Michael French, 19, who is currently serving in the US Navy, and Daniel James Robert French, 17 of San Antonio, Janet Kaufman, 28, of San Antonio, and Sammy Kaufman, 21 of Syracuse, NY. Additionally, he is survived by his brother Gregory Philip French and Greg's wife Ruth of Las Cruces, NM, his sister Sherry Lynn Cummins and her husband Patrick of San Antonio, Texas, his sister Patricia Ann Nail and her husband George of Albuquerque, NM, and their children Allison Cummins, Brian Cummins, Ryan Nail, and Elizabeth Nail. David grew up in New Mexico and graduated from Robert H. Goddard High School in Roswell, NM in May 1976. He was a member of the band throughout his youth and played clarinet. Dave obtained his private pilot's license while in high school by working at the airport in exchange for flying lessons. His first solo flight took place on May 30, 1976. After graduation, Dave joined the navy as an electrician's mate and served in the Pacific Fleet aboard the USS Frederick. He completed his four year enlistment and went on to attend New Mexico State University. He graduated in 1984 having achieved a Bachelors degree of Business Administration and Finance. While at NMSU, he continued to pursue his love of flying by working at the airport in Las Cruces and participated in competitive flying with his brother, Greg. Upon graduating from college, David was accepted into the US Air Force for pilot training. He graduated pilot training, class 8204, in 1985 and began his career as a B-52 pilot. Dave was stationed at Barksdale AFB, LA for the remainder of his Air Force career. When Dave was discharged from the Air Force in 1989 he began his career as a commercial airline pilot, flying for Pan Am Airlines, Express One, and Northwest Airlines. Dave flew DC - 9, Boeing 727, 747, 757, Airbus 320 and 330 aircraft and had a great time traveling the world. During the Gulf War David served his country again by flying military troop transports for Express One. He met a huge variety of people in his travels and enjoyed getting to know everyone who walked on his airplanes. He was a first officer for Northwest Airlines at the time of his medical retirement in 2008. David was a citizen of the world. He would try anything and had many hobbies and interests. He collected experiences from around the world. Dave collected wines, loved a variety of sports including riding his jet skis and boating, skiing (both water and snow), windsurfing, racquetball, flying model airplanes, and anything else you challenged him to do. If you taught him how to do something one day he would beat you at it the next day. He also loved playing board games, reading, shooting, history, and culture. Dave wanted to experience many different cultures, places, new foods, and new ideas. Travel was not just his job, it was his life. David met Clarisa Isabella Feldman in 1997. Clarisa and Dave began a life of adventure and travel while working together on a flight to Fargo, ND for Northwest Airlines. This was only the first journey in a life that took them around the world together. They married on June 12, 2001 in Las Vegas, NV. David has made San Antonio the home for his family and has resided in Texas for the past twenty years. His greatest joy was flying and spending time with his friends and family. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Cancer Research Institute in Dave's memory. A fund has been established in the name of David R. French, and any donations will be acknowledged to the family. For more information call 1-800-99-CANCER (992-2623) or go online to www.cancerresearch.org.
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